NSW nearshore wave buoy parameter time series data (active deployments)

In-situ ocean wave measurements have been collected at nearshore locations along the NSW coast. Wave data are collected using GPS wave buoys that are deployed by NSW DCCEEW scientists on moorings in shallow coastal waters (< 35 m water depth) adjacent to beaches or rocky shores. The program currently uses Sofar Spotter wave buoys ( During 2016-2017, Datawell DWR-G4 wave buoys ( were used, while in 2018 and 2019 both Datawell and Spotter wave buoys were used. A buoy comparison experiment was carried out in 2018, which found that wave data measured by Datawell and Spotter buoys at the same location could be considered equivalent.

The wave buoys are tethered to moorings at deployment locations and float on the water surface, measuring the height, period and direction of passing waves by tracking the motion of the buoy through time using GPS. The deployments are temporary, and the duration of each wave buoy deployment varies with operational needs, ranging from several months to years. Deployment locations are chosen to support scientific research carried by NSW DCCEEW and partners on coastal dynamics along the NSW coastline and to develop nearshore wave modelling tools and data. Wave data and research support the development of Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) under the Coastal Management Act (2016).

The real-time wave data from live buoy deployments includes time-series charts of key parameters describing wave height, period and direction over a rolling seven-day window. The parameters are derived on board the buoy using wave spectra analysis and include significant wave height (Hm0), mean wave period (Tm01), peak wave period (TP), mean wave direction (DirM) and peak wave direction (DirP). Wind speed and direction estimated from the measured wave spectra are also provided. Parameters are plotted at half-hour intervals in local time - Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) or Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) - and the data time series are updated once every hour as new data points are received. The data are received directly from deployed wave buoy instruments via satellite transmission and are not quality assessed or controlled in any way. Various factors may cause erroneous data points and users are advised to exercise caution when using the data. The data are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon for coastal hazard advice or to guide operational activities.

Processed wave data that has passed quality assurance and control tests are also available on SEED, and could be used for coastal hazard advice or assessments:

For more information on wave buoy data collection and processing, please see: Kinsela, M.A., Morris, B.D., Ingleton, T.C., Doyle, T. B. et al. (2024) Nearshore wave buoy data from southeastern Australia for coastal research and management. Scientific Data.

Wave buoy equipment and deployments have been primarily funded by NSW DCCEEW with equipment grant funding from the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer’s Research Attraction and Acceleration Program (RAAP) awarded to the NSW Node of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and administered by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS). The Water Research Laboratory (UNSW Sydney) also provided wave buoys used in the program. For more information on the NSW Nearshore Waves program please visit:

Data and Resources

  • Data quality statement for NSW nearshore wave buoy parameter time series data...

  • For more information on the NSW Nearshore Waves program

Metadata Summary What is metadata?

Field Value
Language English
Edition 1
Purpose Coastal Hazard Management
Frequency of change Continual
Keywords OCEANOGRAPHY-Physical,MARINE-Coasts
Field of Research (optional) 0405
Metadata Date 2021-02-12
Date of Asset Creation 2021-02-12
Date of Asset Publication 2021-02-17
License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Geospatial Topic Environment

Dataset extent

Temporal Coverage From 2021-02-12
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
Legal Disclaimer Read
Attribution NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: "© State Government of NSW and NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 2021"